While investing in your health and wellness can sound like an overwhelming goal, doctors say that there are easy, tangible resolutions you can make to feel your best and better protect your health.
“A new year is the perfect time to consider your personal goals, and how you can make positive health choices in the coming year,” says American Medical Association (AMA) President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “Small lifestyle changes today can have a lasting effect in improving your health.”
Not sure where to start? Consider these resolutions from the AMA:
1. Make sure your family is up-to-date on their vaccines, including the annual influenza vaccine for everyone age 6 months or older and the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone age 5 and older. Anyone with questions about the COVID-19 vaccines should speak with their physician and review trusted resources, including getvaccineanswers.org.
2. Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes by taking a simple, online two-minute self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. Steps you take now can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
3. Be more physically active. Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity.
4. Know your blood pressure numbers. Take the time to visit ManageYourBP.org to better understand your numbers and take necessary steps to get high blood pressure — also known as hypertension — under control. Doing so will reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
5. Reduce your intake of processed foods, especially those with added sodium and sugar. Also reduce your consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and drink more water instead.
6. If your healthcare professional determines that you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem and antibiotics will not make you feel better if you have a virus, such as a cold or flu.
7. If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation as defined by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans — up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.
8. Talk with your doctor about tobacco and nicotine use and quit. Declare your home and car smoke-free to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
9. If you are taking prescription opioids, follow your doctor’s instructions, store them safely to prevent diversion or misuse, and properly dispose of any leftover medication.
10. Manage stress. A good diet and daily exercise are key ingredients to maintaining and improving your mental health, but don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend or mental health professional when you need it.
If you don’t have health insurance, the AMA also encourages you to visit healthcare.gov to sign up for coverage. You may benefit from recent changes that improve access and affordability. The deadline to enroll for 2022 coverage is Jan. 15, 2022. More health resources and tips can be found by visiting ama-assn.org.
Consider making these New Year’s resolutions for a happy, healthy 2022 and beyond.